Engagement as a Challenge: Getting Student’s Attention in the New Normal of Learning

The new school year comes with new modes of learning, a “new normal” in education established as a precaution against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This new normal, according to Grant Thornton, has affected—and will continue to affect—the 27 million learners and one million teachers and non-teaching staff in the country.

As it stands, more than 16 million students will be utilizing various learning modalities this year, such as

  • Online learning
  • Modular learning
  • Radio- and television-based learning

The challenges

Whatever mode of flexible learning your school may implement, teachers and administrators are undoubtedly concerned with maintaining student engagement. Many challenges come to mind, but they can generally be divided into three general categories:

  • Administrative. Some modes of learning are conducted without a teacher or facilitator, and students may get confused on how they could progress through the course, especially if they are not aware of the expected or desired outcome. At times, students might need the continuous guidance of their teachers through virtual means.
  • Social. Administrators can expect their students to feel isolated, since these modes of learning are conducted without the interaction between students and teachers seen in the traditional classroom.
  • Motivation. As students are compelled to continue their education from their own homes, they face an entirely different set of distractions that may hinder them from completing the required coursework.

Ways to engage

Each school faces a different set of challenges with student engagement, but, for some educators who have already facilitated online classes and faced the same problem, these methods can come in handy in preparing for the new normal of learning.

  • Create an engaging lesson plan. It all begins with having an interactive and dynamic lesson to keep students engaged throughout the class. This works well for classes that utilize videoconferencing tools, since instructors can easily command the way lessons will be conducted for the day. It can also be replicated for teachers making use of a learning management system (LMS) by integrating instructional videos and links to interesting websites into their online modules.
  • Partner with parents. Constant communication between parents and teachers will be essential in making the new normal of learning work. Since they will act as facilitators in ensuring that their children are indeed learning from the materials provided, it’s important for parents to collaborate with teachers in meeting the learning goals of students.
  • Flexibility is key. In today’s new learning environment, teachers are also expected to provide remote assistance to their students, especially if there are troubles with the technical aspects of online learning. Apart from this, teachers are also compelled to step up and provide support to students who are still struggling with this new normal of learning. Teachers will be handling a lot of tasks this year, and being flexible in these tasks will be key in making distance learning work.

Preparations are in full swing, now that the first day of school is fast approaching. With these methods, administrators and teachers are assured that learning will continue, even outside the four walls of the traditional classroom.

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